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Palestinians Reject to Hand Over Bullet that Killed Abu Akleh, Blame Israel

Palestinians Reject to Hand Over Bullet that Killed Abu Akleh, Blame Israel

Thursday, 12 May, 2022 - 09:00
Children visit the site where veteran Al-Jazeera Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank, in Jenin on May 12, 2022. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday rejected an Israeli request to hold a joint investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, saying it would not hand over the bullet that killed her for ballistic analysis.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Israeli authorities are "fully responsible" for the killing.

"We rejected the joint investigation with the Israeli occupation authorities because they committed the crime and because we don't trust them," said Abbas during an official memorial ceremony for Abu Akleh in Ramallah.

He added that the Palestinian Authority "will go immediately to the International Criminal Court in order to track down the criminals".

Hussein Al Sheikh, a senior aide to Abbas, earlier said that the Palestinians would conduct their own independent probe and that all parties would be informed of "the results of the investigation with high transparency.”

Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American journalist, was shot and killed on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. The broadcaster and two reporters who were with her blamed Israeli forces.

Israeli officials initially suggested that Abu Akleh may have been killed by militant fire, but walked that back somewhat later in the day, saying there were no “final conclusions.”

Her death was met by an outpouring of grief across the West Bank. Her body was to be taken to the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on Thursday before being brought to Jerusalem for burial on Friday.

The killing sparked condemnations from around the globe. UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has called for an “an independent and transparent investigation” to ensure those responsible are held to account.

Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, on Wednesday promised such an inquiry, saying he was in touch with US and Palestinian officials and hoped for cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We are trying to figure out exactly what happened,” he said. “I don’t have final conclusions.”

On Twitter, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said her death was an affront to media freedom everywhere.

"The Israelis have the wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation," Price told a news briefing.

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